This interview with Mortiis was in issue #9
I would like to address the rumor that thou art living in Sweden to run away from the imprisoned members of Emperor.
Which is crap. I moved to Sweden in January ‘94 because I had a girlfriend in Sweden, and the police was getting on my nerves. The school was going to was fucking me over at the time. My parents went hysterical because of the murder, and I felt like Norway’s just a stupid fuckin’ place to live.
Didn’t thou testify in court against one of those people?
Is it true that black metal is in no way more popular in Sweden and Norway then death metal?
That’s a matter of trends. I think, for a period of time, black metal was really hyped. Certain bands are extremely popular. You’ve got Emperor. Burzum is still very popular. I don’t know if it’s more popular than death metal because I don’t know what you define death metal as. If you define Entombed as death metal, then the answer is no. They obviously do sell a lot more, and so does Carcass. So does Morbid Angel.
Thou apparently called Moonspell niggers.
Yes. Canst thou explain this?
They’re from Portugal. I think once… this is, like, three years ago, I was in a very destructive mood. It was in like a Twilight Zone. I didn’t even know what I was doing or whatever, and I saw this interview in a Hungarian magazine which I do not recall the name of – that doesn’t even matter. They interviewed somebody from Moonspell, and this is like three or four weeks after Euronymous is dead and Grishnak was in jail, and he was starting to open his mouth and just slagging these people off. I said, “OK, You could have done this, like, a year and a half ago, when these people had a chance to defend themselves” and felt like, “What a fuckin’ coward!” and I just wrote him this letter. I’m not sure if I called him a nigger, but if I did, that was just to fuck him off, you know, to piss him off. I’m not a racist. Really. I just wanted to give these people a chance.
Is there a problem with black people in Sweden – something about the unemployment system there? There is a feeling from Swedish patriots that black people are abusing the unemployment program.
Well, I don’t really know. I know that Sweden has a strange moral when it comes to, shall we say, colored people. They seem to get a lot more advantages than the normal unemployed Swedish person, which I think is fucked up, because, I mean, this is Sweden, and they should prioritize their own people. I don’t mind them letting black people or foreigners coming in here. I don’t mind, as long as they don’t do any harm, but I think it’s kind of weird. They get a lot of advantages. They get money much easier. They get more money. They get things easily. A normal Swedish man has to fight a lot to get something from the welfare system. I know that. I’ve been trying.
Wert thou on a label called H.R. Puff & Stuff Records?
Ah, no. That doesn’t sound very familiar.
That was a joke. There was a television show that had a character called Witchy Poo.
(Laughs) Well, I am a stupid man. I don’t know anything about that.
That was a cultural question. I doubt that thou has ever seen the show over there.
(laughs) No. I don’t think so. (laughs) Witchy Poo.
Thy appearance is very bizarre.
How didst thou conceive it? Was it at the same time that thou decided to compose the sort of music thou plays today?
Yeah. It came kind of naturally. We were doing some photo sessions, and I had been thinking about doing something special. I just wanted something extra. It kind of helps me write. My spirit looks like something in the Mortiis vein.
Dost thou get offended when people say thou looks like a fairie?
Ah (laughs), that is nothing new to me. I’ve heard… you name it, you’ve got it.
But thou looks like a fairie in the true sense of the word. Instead of a gay man, thou appearth to be a woodland spirit.
Yeah, well, that’s a compliment to me. I’m into that kind of stuff.
In Emperor, how much of an influence didst thou have in the songwriting?
(Sighs) That was so-so. I gave them some ideas, and if something sucked, I told them. We kind of did the songwriting together. They made a riff, and we arranged when we rehearsed. The main thing I did in Emperor was I did the lyrics. I did most of the interviews. I was kind of like a spokesman. I dare say that I was. That’s basically it.
Was there anything about Faust that made thee think that he was unstable?
I don’t think he was unstable in any way. I just think he was extreme. I don’t know if he still is. I haven’t had any contact with him for quite some time. He did extreme things. I don’t care.
Wouldst thou say that the evil personality attributed to the members of Emperor was created by the record label, or did the people act in ways that can be called evil?
We did have periods when we were like (sighs) how should I say? We were dark-minded, and I think the record label noticed this and I suppose they acted on the freshly born black metal explosion back then, in ‘92. They probably did some propaganda which was overblown. Like, for example, they said when the mini LP came out, that it was the most evil record in the world That’s just bullshit. There’s nothing eve remotely that should be called evil.
I had the feeling that the personality of the band was just a media creation. At the time, the publicist at Century Media said that there was no possibility of a phone interview, so questions had to be faxed. When I sent her my joke questions, she said that there was no way that she was going to fax them, because the members of Emperor would kill her.
(Laughs) That was Raychele.
I printed the questions anyway.
I was disgusted with the lies of black metal.
They have also. From the impression that I got, Faust has become easier to deal with. I don’t know when you did this interview. They might have been angered if this was three years ago. Even I would have been. I don’t really like to speak on their behalf, which I hope you can respect. I don’t think they would kill her. (laughs)
Of course I wanted to get the band mad. That’s what I am known for.
We have copies here. I recognized the name as I was calling you.
In one of thy pictures, it looks like thou art wearing a long black nightgown.
That’s your imagination, isn’t it? It goes down to the knee. It’s not a nightgown, which I can guarantee. It looks a lot longer than it really is. I can kind of agree that it might look like a nightgown. I don’t really care. I mean, I know what it really is. Why should I be angered?
Dost thou wear inverted crosses?
I never did. I never do.
So thou art not an upside-down-cross dresser?
Didst thou pose naked for a poster?
Yes, but it didn’t show any genital organs or anything like that. It’s a poster for the Vond LP. It’s me and my former girlfriend in a bathroom with a lot of blood, knives, hammers – it’s a torture kind of crazy scene. I’m holding a knife to her head. It’s mostly for shock effect.
Dost thou think that the Gothic crowd embraces thee more than the metal crowd?
I don’t know. In America, it seems a lot more Goth people like my music than metal people.
How dost thou feel about the trendy people in other countries playing the Scandinavian rhythms?
I hate that! I was there, creating this black metal explosion thing. We didn’t even call our music black metal when we started. Just make a note of that.
There are bands in corpse paint, with members who have short hair.
That looks stupid. I hate these people. What they do is disgusting.